Principles Of Making Herbal Ghee – Ghritham

As per Ayurveda, cow ghee has a unique quality – Samskarasya Anuvartanat. It takes the herb properties into it, without leaving its own inherent properties – A unique nature. 

Aims of herbal ghee

  • To extract fat soluble active principles.
  • To make use of therapeutic values of ghee.
  • To enhance the shelf life of the preparation.
  • To enhance the medicine absorption.
  • To make the preparation more palatable.

Herbal ghee uses

  • Gandusha – Oil pulling – ghee pulling
  • Karnapoorana – ear drops
  • Nasya – Nose drops
  • Massage (Shata Dhauta Ghrita, Jatyadi Ghrita) etc
  • Hair care
  • Enema
  • Oral consumption

Components of herbal ghee

Any Ayurvedic ghee has three components: 

  • Kalka paste of herbs
  • Cow ghee – Ghrita
  • Drava – Liquids – water / milk / Kashaya / juice extracts etc

Proportions of 3 components

  • Kalka paste – 1 part / 1 ounce / 100 grams
  • Ghrita ghee –4 parts / 4 ounce / 400 ml
  • Drava – Liquids –16 parts / 16 ounce / 1600 ml
  • 1:4:16

Kalka – paste – Fresh herb – crush it in a mortar and pestle, and use it afresh

  • For Dry herb – take fine powder
  • Add sufficient quantity water
  • Make a semisolid paste

Kashaya- herbal decoction:

Principles of preparation

Principle behind making of Ayurvedic herbal ghee

  • Herb (paste) + ghee + Liquid (kashaya, juice extract, milk etc)
  • Herb + ghee – fat soluble principles of herbs transfer into ghee
  • Kashaya = water soluble extract of the herb.
  • It contains water soluble principles of herb.
    This also gets transferred into ghee.
  • Ayurvedic herbal ghee = Ghee soluble herb principles+ Water soluble active principles

Steps involved in Ayurvedic ghee making

  • Get the ghee. Keep it ready.
  • Get the kashaya ingredients – Make Kashaya
  • Get the kalka herb – make paste.
  • Start making the herbal ghee.

Till when to heat the ghee

  • The ghee is heated till the total moisture quantity evaporates from the mix.
  • The final product should be devoid of any moisture content.
  • Herb + ghee + liquid (kashaya/ water /juice extract / milk etc)

How to know that herbal ghee is finally made?

  • First take the ghee in the vessel. Add Kalka (herbal paste) to it.
  • Mark the level of the ghee in the vessel.
  • Approximately the final liquid level should be the marked level.
  • It may be slightly higher as herb paste swells while making the ghee.

Signs of properly prepared ghee

  • Fragrance of the herbs become apparent
  • The herb paste can be rolled into the form of wick
  • The herb paste when put on fire does not make sound.
  • First there will be froth. Nearing to the end of ghee making, the froth disappears.
  • In the mid, the total paste + liquid becomes one dirty looking mix. Nearing to the end, ghee gets clearly separated from the paste.
  • In the mid, the total paste + liquid becomes one dirty looking mix. Nearing to the end, ghee gets clearly separated from the paste.
  • Vartivatthe kalka inside the ghee can be easily rolled into the form of a wick
  • Shabdaheena – when the kalka is put on fire, it does not produce any sound.
  • Phenashanthi – the foam disappears
  • Gandha varna Rasa (taste) Utpatti – there will be good aroma, colour and taste in the ghee.

Precautions

  • Do not start heating ghee first and then add kashaya. If ghee starts boiling and then you add Kashaya, it may explode.
  • Use moderate heat.
  • Constant stirring – both while making kashaya and the ghee
  • Use wide mouthed vessel for quicker evaporation
  • Be alert at the end stage
  • After ghee is ready, filter the ghee soon after it is made.

Number of days for ghee preparation

  • Making Kashaya and then making ghee may not get completed in one day time.
  • Ayurveda also recommends making the ghee in 2 or more days.
  • So, first day make kashayam. Then get the ghee + paste into vessel. Add Kashayam to it.
  • Heat it till it starts boiling. Stop heating. Close the vessel with a lid.
  • Next day continue heating and finish it.

Some rules

  • If only a herb name is mentioned for ghee preparation, Then kalka of the same drugs is put & 4 times of water is also added.
  • Eg: ghee prepared with ginger is useful in digestion.
  • This means, ginger paste + ghee + water

Types of Ghee preparation

Three types:
1. Mridu Paaka – Soft – water in the kalka  no water in ghee.
The kalka will be very soft to touch & will have little moisture in it. One can manage to prepare Varti. Wick is soft and does not hold shape.
Useful for Nasya

2. Madhyama Paakamedium – no water in kalka and no water in ghee.  Wick is firm and strong – useful for all practical purposes. The kalka will be soft & devoid of moisture. Perfect Varti can be prepared

3. Khara Paaka – rough, burnt, hard – wick of kalka turns powdery, granular.  – Useful for Abhyanga only.
Sneha kalka will be hard totally devoid of moisture. Varti turns hard but gets the shape.

Time duration to prepare herbal ghees
If milk is there in formula, then finish ghee making in 2 days
If juice extract (swarasa) – 3 days
If buttermilk, fermented liquids – 5 days
If roots and climbers – 1 2days
If rice, grains and meat – 1 day

Shelf life, Dosage and Adjuvant

  • 16 months.
  • 1 Pala (48Gms).
  • Lukewarm water.

Example:
Ashwagandha ghee to improve immunity in children

Arjuna ghee for cardiac health

Once the Ghee is filtered, can the paste be reused in any way?
The paste is heated for 1 – 2 days. All its medicinal values are transferred into the ghee medium. So, that paste is waste.

Reference: Sharangdhara Samhita Madhyama Khanda 9th chapter.

Where are herbal ghees available? 
Within India, most of the pharmacies manufacture and sell a variety of herbal ghees.
Outside India, available at PureIndianFoods.com

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